With the shift to remote work and the rapid adoption of Cloud-based services, the growth of Shadow IT has accelerated. Recent studies show that 58% of employees are unhappy with the technology stack proposed by their organizations, and 32% incorporate unsanctioned tools to get their work done.
Shadow IT is the use of hardware, software, or Cloud applications without the knowledge or approval from the IT security team.
As a consequence, a shadow supply chain arises – a complex web of unknown Cloud applications, user accounts, data, and permissions scattered across the Internet.
The use of unsanctioned technologies can create different types of Shadow IT risks.
IT and security teams can’t protect what they can’t see, and data that lives in the shadow supply chain can be difficult to control. Organizations can even lose access to shadow cloud-based data in the event that an employee who owns the information leaves the company. Think of sharing work documents via personal Dropbox, Gmail, or WhatsApp accounts.
As employees travel and work from remote locations, so does their data, with their own laptops, mobile phones, WiFi connections, and personal accounts that weren’t properly vetted and sanctioned by the IT team.
With each of these variables comes loss of control and visibility, two essential components at the core of any secure company’s IT strategy and best practices.
If as part of routine checks the IT team comes across a Shadow IT service, they will have to decide whether or not to keep it. If the application has turned into a critical tool for any given project or team, the cost incurred by the organization to continue using it may be unjustified. This is quite common with SaaS applications for productivity and collaboration, or cloud storage.
In order to make this decision, IT needs to understand the purpose Shadow IT application was serving.
Some useful questions for this discovery process include:
Get the playbook: Building a Shadow IT Policy
In today’s digital supply chain, IT teams cannot afford to be inefficient. As a result of Shadow IT, data may be stored and used in multiple locations across the network, creating silos that can affect data flow management, analysis, and reporting.
If multiple versions of data exist in different unmapped locations, the IT team will struggle with duplicate processes and challenges related to system capacity, architecture, security, and performance.
Shadow IT expands the attack surface and increases the risk of suffering a data breach, because cloud accounts contain resources that can expose the organization to attacks when they’re misconfigured or subject to vulnerability exploitation. This makes it critical to implement solutions to discover hidden assets and cloud instances, assess them for risk, and bring them into line with corporate security policies.
Monitoring the network for Shadow IT is the only way to increase visibility over these assets and build a comprehensive, up-to-date inventory so they can be hardened against cyberattacks.
Read more: How to discover Shadow IT
The lack of visibility and control over Shadow IT assets can make it challenging to maintain compliance, as network blind spots could turn into governance issues. In industries subject to stringent compliance regulations, Shadow IT creates additional audit points, where wrongful data management could incur costly lawsuits or fines for noncompliance.
As part of an always up to date inventory, organizations must monitor the security and compliance posture of cloud assets in use across the entire supply chain.
When employees bypass IT protocols, they’re not actively trying to create risk; they usually
want to get their work done or test a new tool. Shadow IT is often the result of trying to achieve greater productivity and agility while trying to provide a secure and stable IT environment. Yet, it increases exposure to risk, may violate regulatory compliance standards, and creates cost overruns.
The strategy to combat Shadow IT is twofold:
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-analytics||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-functional||11 months||The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-necessary||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-others||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.|
|cookielawinfo-checkbox-performance||11 months||This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".|